Over the last few years I’ve given my life to both my own “tribal” organization,
the Wolves, and the ongoing concept called Operation Werewolf.
The latter could never have existed without the foundation of the former, and it was off the back of the successful proving ground of the Wolves that Operation Werewolf was formed- to give others a chance to implement what we had tested and proven.
I will try not to sound like a self-important hipster here, but the Wolves began using this term “tribe” long before it became the buzzword of the day, a popular Instagram hashtag, or a word that seems to have become nothing more than a marketing tool. It fit what we were attempting to do more than the words “club,” “group,” or otherwise, and it represented a shift in terminology away from these sort of official, corporate sounding organizational names that we saw in the cesspool of the American “pagan” sub-culture at the time.
We called it a tribe, because we were desirous to build our own people. Our own myths, and shared language and meaning for life. To live in close connection with each other, and to exist not as a loose affiliation who came together at times to practice some sterile reconstruction or escapist fantasy, but to be a family.
A tribe is not, cannot be, a loose affiliation, by definition. The word means very little these days, like so many others, due to gross misuse, and overblown false self-representation by groups who should use another word, but don’t, because of perceived “cool points.”
When I hear “tribe” now, I think “oh, you mean your e-mail list.” I hear “tribe” and think, “you mean you and your pals who go to the football game together.” It has become such a misnomer, such a part of modern hyperbole, that alongside words like “nazi,” it seems to have lost all meaning in this day and age.
Likewise, we have contributed to the term “wolf-cult” becoming a part of a much wider parlance- at the time we came together, we knew of no other organization anywhere in the world using this phrase or terminology. We saw ourselves as something akin to Romulus and Remus, and those before and after them, men possessed of wolf-like attitudes and behavior, seeking to create something from nothing, and this strong affiliation to the Indo-Germanic mannerbunde of the One-Eyed God has remained strongly intact within the initiatic rituals of our tribe.
It is not a meme to us, or a phrase used to appear “edgy,” but a distinct, organically grown and adhered to spirituality that continues to expand and deepen as we move into the middle of our second decade together as a tribe- it is our religion.
We see ourselves as a continuation, a vital, modern expression of the first cult to don the skin of the wolf at fire-lit rituals. Not to worship ashes of the past, but to wear them in respect as we tend the fires of the now, that burn both literally at our forest rites, and figuratively within our heart of hearts.
At our first rituals together, we made a pact one to another, and part of that sacred undertaking was to spread this cult of the wolf once more across the face of the earth, finding others like us, and initiating them into this wider cult. We swore to redden stone altars from one shore to another, in wooded places around this world, and we have done so, each month, without fail, from that time to this.
During this time, Operation Werewolf has been instrumental in bringing that expression to a wider circle, and due to the nature of how this message is broadcast, it has brought many out of the woods and to that fire of the wolf-cult who do not belong there.
This is something both expected and unavoidable, and is the by-product of a successful mission so far- that being said, it is also something to be overcome.
There are two ongoing trends that I have found most disturbing, embarrassing, and revolting from these types of individuals, and that I believe need to be rooted out like an invasive weed: The first is the culture vulture.
These are individuals who come to the table not for fellowship, but to attempt to rip chunks off the larger body of the community, feeding on the writings, aesthetic, terminologies and so on that have been developed within Operation Werewolf through hard work, blood, sweat, and time. They do this not to learn, or to improve themselves, but to fly off with it, and regurgitate it in a semi-digested format, branding it as “their own thing,” while attempting to sell it back to the same people they stole it from. They flap off into the distance, where they create some kind of Dollar Store brand knock-off, a cheap xerox of Operation Werewolf, branded with their own synonym.
To create something original, or earnest, or honest, that is similar to something else is one thing. Diluting an existing signal that is already broadcasting itself strongly is to manifest oneself as nothing more than static- a distraction. It is a scavenger pretending to be a predator and living off of the remains that have been left to them by greater species, and it is a thing to be reviled.
Instead, meet in person. Go out of your way. Become associated in a real, physical fashion with the men and women at the core of Operation Werewolf around the world. Use your discernment to separate the wheat from the chaff. Become a light in dark places, and add your fire to the one being built, rather than carrying a candle into the wilderness and calling for those already at the fire to follow.
There is room here for large personalities, and need for leaders within what is already being built.
The second is the paper wolf.
He is typified by a loud mouth, hubris, and exaggerated self-importance and self-worth. His actions take place largely on the digital paper of social media, where he can pretend to be anything he wants, since he will never put himself to the test in person.
He will spout off often with over the top words about “becoming a god,” or his own process of “supremacy,” while creating nothing of worth, and attaining a mediocre lot in life, if anything at all. He believes that going to the gym is the highest expression of self-development, and that “killing it in beastmode” at a corporate chain exercise room with shaky consistency makes him a “werewolf.”
These types are rarely if ever seen at physical events, but are always seen at electronic happenings like a “lit” comment thread, where they will be the loudest representative of Operation Werewolf in the worst possible way, bringing dishonor and disgrace to those who affiliate in a genuine, heartfelt fashion.
Not all who wear the skin of a wolf are one. To be more than a paper wolf, prove it. If you are “with” the Operation, live as an example. If able, come to physical initiations, and be more than text and a photo on the sterile environs of social media- set an example and help others become an example themselves without conceit.
Please, let us all learn to stay grounded and not pompous- pomp is most often a sign of insecurity and inner weakness, where a simple, rugged approach that maintains its humor will serve better.
One does not need to seek “humility” or self-effacement in order to be modest and measured, and to avoid aggrandizing themselves by words. Let your actions and the true words of those whose respect you have earned speak loudly about who you are, and let us all look to attain a calm, confident strength that does not need to prove itself with dialogue, but can be seen and not denied.
A bold smile in our eyes born of truth and stillness and power is better than a boast on our lips spawned from uncertainty, anxiety, and desperation.
Together, we should show these paper wolves that we will not tolerate their interloping at our fires- we will not allow them to embarrass us with their noise and arrogance, their misuse of our authentic and honest way.
Truth always wins over lies and illusion, and the fires of action burn while the counterfeit curs slink in the darkness.
See you out there.